Saturday, December 26, 2009

Geography and Map Skills with Picture Flashcards


I purchased some National Geographic world picture flashcards years ago for around a dollar at a closeout sale. I'm just now using them, and they have come in handy this year for our social studies - Rod & Staff's Understanding Latin America. I've grouped all the South American cards together, and on Monday my son will read each card and locate the places on the map at left.


The cards show a picture of the location on one side, and history and statistics on the other. If you can find these, they are well worth the cost.

I haven't tried this service yet, but it's a free Geography flashcard online program. Create your own, or view existing sets.

Chicken Quarters in a Pot

Bottom's Up! Only .79 cents a pound this week at Save-A-Lot.



Result: About five pounds of shredded chicken from a five pound bag, and half a stock pot of chicken stock. I even cracked a few of the bones for the marrow. This makes for a healthful stock. Boiling the chicken quarters is the best way for me to get every last shred of meat off these leg quarters, not to mention I can skim off the artery clogging skin and fat..

Chicken or turkey stock recipe. 

After seeing this recipe for bone stock, I also made a separate stock from the leftover bones.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mother Angelica's Christmas Audio for Young Children


From 2001, an hour of children's Christmas teachings. This was very cute with questions about Jesus from young children and answers from Mother Angelica, Mother Angelica Live(EWTN).

Click here.

More in archives here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Children's Christmas Poem


Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet
The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then from each black, accursed mouth,
The cannon thundered North and South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;

"For hate is strong
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
" God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men!"

~ Henry W. Longfellow


Reading with Expression, 1911, fifth grade

Printable version at Google Documents.

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced through their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,—
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash;
The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of midday to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick!
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Dasher! now Dancer! now Prancer! now Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So, up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys,—and Saint Nicholas, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spake not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And, laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod,—up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good-night!"

Clement C. Moore


Copy and paste to your own document if you like. Free and in public domain at Google Books.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little Christmas Botany


Poinsettia Study:

From Botany: an elementary text for schools:

To examine gum-resin: Mount a little of the "milky" juice of the leaf stem of the garden poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). It is of a creamy consistency. Examination under the microscope shows that it is not white, as it seems to the naked eye. The particles are yellowish or colorless and are insoluble. These particles are gum resin. They have been emulsified by the plant, making the juice appear white.

398. CONTENTS NOT IN SOLUTION.—Starch is the most abundant of the solid products of the cell. Starch grains have a definite form for each group of plants, and groups can be determined by the form of their starch grains. Detection of adulteration of various products containing starch is accomplished by the aid of the microscope. In potato starch the grains are ovate, with a "nucleus" near one end, as shown in Fig. 391. In poinsettia they are dumbbell-shaped, with two nuclei (Fig. 391).

Books is free and in public domain at Google Books - downloadable, readable online, and printable.

Free Printable Children's Vintage Christmas Story

We read this story the other night and really enjoyed it. I found it in a public domain early 20th century teacher's periodical at Google Books. It is free to save and print.

Printable version: The Princess's Pearls - a young spoiled girl learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Vintage Santa Coloring Page


Image found in public domain at Google Books. Just click on image and save. This outline of Santa made a very nice coloring page.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Free Vintage Gift Tags




I'm learning GIMP, a free image editing software. Here are a few gift tags which I made with vintage public domain images. Click on images to enlarge and save.




A Few More Vintage Freebie Children's Christmas Cut and Pastes

All are from the early 20th century and  in public domain found at Google Books. Click on images to enlarge and save - candle, Christmas goose, and tree with ornaments.




Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twelve Years Ago Today...


by the grace of God, my son made his appearance into this world. Gone are the days of animal shaped birthday cakes. He requested a plain one layer cake with homemade light sugar icing, pizza, and a movie. So we are off to see The Christmas Carol at the theatre.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Children's Acrostic Christmas Poem



C is for Christ Child who came to the earth.
H is for Heralds who told of His birth.
R is for Riches the wise men bring.
I is for Incense they offer the King.
S is for Star that showed them the way.
T is for Tribute the wise men pay.
M is for Manger, the dear Christ Child's bed.
A is for Angels who guarded its head.
S is for Shepherds who heard angels sing
Hosannas to Jesus, the new-born King.

Image and poem found at Google Books in public domain. Copy and print for yourself if you like.

Vintage Christmas Cut-out Freebie: Camel



"Color bridle royal purple and blanket royal purple with gold fringe.

The rockers and standard may be colored if desired. Cut rocker double.

Cut out and fasten in place indicated by A, B. Fold on dotted lines. Cut on heavy lines C for camel's feet."

Found at Google Books in public domain. Should be pasted to heavy paper or light cardboard. Click on image to enlarge and save.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pressure-Cooker Kindergarten

" 'This[kindergarten] is a place of creativity and joy, but it’s a tenuous balance. “I try to mix the fun and the lessons,' Kenney says. “But we are testing them so much that I barely have time to teach the curriculum. These are 5- and 6-year-olds, and there is so little time for them to be kids.

...increasingly in schools across Massachusetts and the United States, little children are being asked to perform academic tasks, including test taking, that early childhood researchers agree are developmentally inappropriate, even potentially damaging. If children don’t meet certain requirements, they are deemed 'not proficient.' Frequently, children are screened for 'kindergarten readiness' even before school begins, and some are labeled inadequate before they walk through the door.

This is a troubling trend to an experienced educator like Gerzon, who knows how much a child can soak up in the right environment. After years of study and practice, she’ll tell you that 5-year-olds don’t learn by listening to a rote lesson, their bottoms on their chairs. They learn through experience. They learn through play. Yet there is a growing disconnect between what the research says is best for children -- a classroom free of pressure -- and what’s actually going on in schools.

...the bucolic world of wonder, a place for cookies and afternoon naps.That world is long gone."

Read more here, Pressure Cooker Kindergarten. HT to HSBA.


Not here at my house! Welcome to the school of yesteryear...Happy Hearts at Home Homeschool.

Dollar Store Crafts


Bob the Tomato. Cute!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Children's Christmas Cut-out Bible Story


Time Saver: Printable/saveable page with scripture and cut-outs here. I've also added an angel, sheep, and a manger scene.

I cut the figures out along with the accompanying scripture from the lesson plan, one of each(triple for the three kings) for the story background pictures. I'll be laminating these with some clear packing tape. You can add self adhesive thin magnetic strips(Walmart crafts section for under $2.00) to the back of each piece for magnet boards.


Updated: laminated with magnets. Mini tray from The Dollar Tree.
I switch the pieces out for each new section of the story/lesson.



Click on images of pages to enlarge and print lesson plans.




Monday, December 14, 2009

Homeschool Freebie: Early Elementary School Evergreen(Pine Tree) Study


Two pages(pages 486-487) of short vintage lessons from Primary Education, 1904.

To print at link, simply right click on the image of the page, view page or save, and print. Printing is only possible in HTML mode; the link is preset to this. Settings can be changed at the bottom of most Google Books pages. This book is in public domain, readable online, and downloadable.

Also found in another vintage text - paper cutting exercise of pine tree. Click to enlarge and save.


The Little Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson(printable)









Coloring page :

Saint Lucia Day and Our Lady of Guadalupe




Bumped up from 2007





Yesterday was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego.

"Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything." — Our Lady to Juan Diego

She is the patron saint of the Americas and the protectress of the unborn.

Today is the feast day of Saint Lucy. This saint was both fascinating and frightening to me as a child. She is depicted with her eyes on a plate! Her father died when she was young leaving both her and her mother without a guardian. She lived during the time of Diocletian's bloody persecutions in the 4th century. She rejected an arranged marriage with a pagan bride groom choosing instead her faith in the Lord.

From wikipedia:

"Her rejected pagan bridegroom denounced Lucy as a Christian to the magistrate Paschasius, who ordered her to burn a sacrifice to the emperor's image. Lucy replied that she had given all that she had: "I offer to Him myself, let Him do with His offering as it pleases Him." Sentenced to be defiled in a brothel, Lucy asserted:

No one's body is polluted so as to endanger the soul if it has not pleased the mind. If you were to lift my hand to your idol and so make me offer against my will, I would still be guiltless in the sight of the true God, who judges according to the will and knows all things. If now, against my will, you cause me to be polluted, a twofold purity will be gloriously imputed to me. You cannot bend my will to your purpose; whatever you do to my body, that cannot happen to me.



The Christian tradition states that when the guards came to take her away they found her so filled with the Holy Spirit that she was stiff and heavy as a mountain; they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Even with a dagger through her throat she prophesied against her persecutor. As final torture, her eyes were gouged out. She was miraculously still able to see without her eyes. In paintings and statues, St. Lucy is frequently shown holding her eye on a golden plate."


She is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, Anglican Churches.


In Scandinavian, Saint Lucy is Saint Lucia, and today is St. Lucia Day. In high school, I had a very good friend who was Swedish, and we were often invited to their St. Lucia Day celebrations. By tradition, the eldest daughter brings coffee and St. Lucia buns to her parents, while wearing a candle-wreath and singing a Lucia song. Other daughters may help, dressed in the same kind of white robe and carrying a candle in one hand, but only the oldest daughter wears the candle-wreath.


Free St. Lucy printable for various age groups. I made a copy of the one for younger children today. My son really enjoyed it. 

St. Lucia paper doll.



Mica, a fellow homeschooler has a delicious recipe for Swedish cookies. She is also up for Best New Homeschool blog. Do check out her interesting blog which is a treat for the eyes, mind and spirit. Update: Mica and her family celebrated St. Lucia Day with their daughter. She has the recipe for the traditional buns as well. Great pictures! We hope to do the same when our daughter is old enough.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Education Freebie: December Picture Study, Elementary School Lesson Plan


Not all the pictures are provided, but could be found online. This is for the classroom, but can be adapted for the home.

Talks on Art, Primary Education 1913, pages 606-608.

To print at link, simply right click on the image of the page, view page or save, and print. Printing is only possible in HTML mode; the link is preset to this. Settings can be changed at the bottom of most Google Books pages. This book is in public domain, readable online, and downloadable.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Free Printable: Saint Nicholas Cooking Club, Christmas Cooking for Children


Saint Nicholas Cooking Club, 1908. Vintage recipes for children to prepare with parents. Pages 250-251.

To print at link, simply right click on the image of the page, view page or save, and print. Printing is only possible in HTML mode; the link is preset to this. Settings can be changed at the bottom of most Google Books pages. This book is in public domain, readable online, and downloadable.

Homeschool Printable Freebies: Christmas in Other Lands(Elementary School)

From Google Books(vintage books):

Christmas in Other Lands(western Europe), pages 406-410, Public School Methods, 1921. The Christmas section begins on page 402 if you are interested in looking at other lessons and songs. To print, simply right click on the image of the page, view page or save, and print. Printing is only possible in HTML mode; the link is preset to this. Settings can be changed at the bottom of most Google Books pages. This book is in public domain, readable online, and downloadable.


This story can be paired with paper dolls from around the world in order to see traditional dress. Many of them can be found here. Check Google - there are many free printables to choose from.


It's a very brief lesson which runs through many countries in snippets, but good for casual supplemental reading, and a quick geography lesson if you have the children look up the countries on the map. Better yet, have them label this map.

Free printable maps


We will be doing this on Monday.


Also see(left an illustrated printable page on Christmas in Sweden.

Found later:

Christmas in Other Lands Lesson, Good English, Oral and Written, Book 1(grade 4).

How Christmas is Kept in Other Lands, New Education Readers(grade3).

Christmas in Other Countries, New Era Second Reader(grade 2)

Christmas in Other Lands, Brooks's readers, Book 6(grade 6)

Numbered list for western European countries, a good jumping off point.  Here and here.

Christmas in Greenland, Fourth Grade Normal Reader.

Make Your Own Magnetic Paper Dolls

I made these this afternoon for my niece. I don't have a color printer, so they are hand colored, laminated with clear strapping tape($1.00 a roll at Dollar General or Family Dollar), and hand cut thin magnet strips were adhered to the back. The self stick thin magnet sheets were under $2.00 in the hobby section of Walmart.


I discussed free online resources for printable paper dolls here and here.

See more over at this week's Make-It-From-Scratch Carnival.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Family Movie Night: BBC's Wild China DVD

"This six-part series from the BBC uncovers some of the most exotic and uncharted natural habitats hidden within the vast and diverse topography of China, including Yunnan's forests, the Tibetan plateau, the Silk Road and the Mongol steppes. Through high-definition and other cutting-edge camera technologies, the footage presented here captures stunning wildlife sequences, along with a plethora of breathtaking landscape photography." ~ Netflix


This was a wonderful documentary which covered a variety of wildlife, and also geography(China is vast!). It touched upon the history of the Mongols, Marco Polo and the Silk Road, and the ethnic diversity and rural culture in rarely seen parts of China. The footage was beautiful and so interesting....not your typical documentary. Part one's coverage was fantastic while part two dragged a bit. I could have skipped the second disk.

If you have Netflix, this is worth a viewing.

Wild China at Amazon.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Create Your Own Jesse Tree


Soutenus has a thorough tutorial for creating a homemade Jesse Tree. This is really an idea for parents with children, but the symbolic ornaments of each day of December leading up to Christmas day could grace a regular Christmas tree. It would be challenge to collect them all, and a treasure hunt for your gift givers.

Preschool Counting Freebies: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Read and Color


Click to enlarge and print. From Journeys through Bookland, 1922.



Teaching arithmetic with Mother Goose
, teaching ideas from Primary Education, 1918.

Monday, December 07, 2009

In Rememberance, Pearl Harbor Day


President Roosevelt declared it, a "Day that will live in infamy." The attack on Pearl Harbor was an unannounced military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. It resulted in the United States entry into World War II. Read more here.

Remembering all those who lost their lives and fought for our country, and the families who were left behind. Prayers for peace...I am so tired of war.